Happy New Year to all the Tired Feminists out there!
I have been looking forward to 2013 for reasons both quantifiable and arbitrary. It’s convenient to pin hopes and set goals with a clean slate and I sometimes savor a blank page.
Sometime in the latter half of 2012 I wrestled my way through some painful physical stuff (anyone with chronic or recurring pain can understand). It is not exaggeration to say there were times (weeks!) when I could barely walk. And my dear daughter kept bringing home malady after malady (often of the horrible stomach variety) that would fell our whole clan and reduce us to whimpering heaps. (We only had one month in 2012 w/o puke. Seriously.) It just felt like wave after wave of illness and pain, whether it was from germs, pollen, or my own spastic genes.
It was humbling and frustrating and I was often shocked to tears from searing pain during physical therapy. The kind of tears that you don’t even know you are crying until you feel a hot wetness on your cheeks. I felt like I was in battle at PT. And I have found a kind of friendship — a kind of love — in the trenches that is like no other. As often as I felt intensely isolated by being bed ridden for months, when I hobbled into PT, I never walked alone. I never winced or cried alone. Last year I fought to find the end of pain and now I fight to get strong, every back-track crushing my spirit a little bit.
But I get up. I keep getting up.
Every time my back spasms again or my hip hurts so bad I can’t sleep, I think about all the things I’ve survived. Abuse, trauma, poverty, food allergies that sneak up and nearly kill me (like fucking ninjas!), asthma that literally takes my breath away, surgery on my abdomen to repair all that damage pregnancy did to my insides (it was worth it), and all the health stuff I’m so used to that I take it for granted that I live life a bit differently than everybody else… All that stuff and I got up every time. I. Got. Up. I clawed my way out.
All these things came back to me in 2012. All those other times I had to learn how to survive, learn how to live, learn how to love. And I’ll tell you something, every time you think you are too weak, too scared, or even too alone to go on… You aren’t! You have everything you need inside you! I believe God gives each of us strength and skills we may not even know we have until we really need them. (It’s okay if you don’t share my belief in God, I still think we are born with a great potential buried inside.) Indeed, I am blessed to have a lot of people who love me (especially my husband) and lift me up.
And, like a small miracle, my body eventually stopped spasm-ing and started strengthening!
Somewhere in all that, a seed of an idea germinated. I started working on creative writing projects, which I haven’t done in more than a decade. It made my mind and spirit feel alive! And as my long-dormant artistic side woke up, I felt like I saw the world brand new.
I got my bad-ass back!
I started to feel so good that I actually wanted to take care of my outsides a little and pamper myself (a rarity). I got LASIK to correct my vision (after 28 years with corrective lenses!) and colored my hair for the first time in five years. And by the end of the year, even though I missed out on holiday cookies (fuck you allergies), I felt stronger and happier and dare-I-say prettier than I have in at least as long as I’ve lived in Las Vegas (13 years). I keep telling my husband that I feel like myself again.
And I’m ready to kick a little ass in 2013!
I don’t make resolutions. But I do set goals. And in 2013, I’m turning my dial up to 11. I’m going to ignore my fear and embrace my “creative courage” (as my friend Alex calls it). I’ve got big ideas, big plans for 2013 and beyond. I’m a little afraid that I have to walk my talk now. But what the hell? Bring it on!